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Madrid (Lonely Planet Encounter Guides) Paperback – 1 Sep 2007
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Sherman's Travel, April 2007'...Encounter guides...discreet in size, but generous enough on page count to provide a fuller city experience minus the hefty guidebook load.'
Top Customer Reviews
The detachable map was annoying, but there are also colour maps incorporated in the book, although these are only of small areas. The book is divided up by areas (neighbourhoods or barrios) of the city. This can be annoying when you've first arrived in the city and aren't sure which neighbourhood is which, although you do get used to it. There's information on sights, restuarants, hotels, entertainment etc. for each, though this isn't as comprehensive or detailed as in the larger city guide.
One good thing about this book compared to other Lonely Planets is the regular inclusion of colour pictures throughout the book. But it's a shame that this seems to be at the expense of the detail that is the best feature of the normal guides. There are still general practical information sections but these are much less detailed than I expect from a Lonely Planet and not sufficient on their own for an independant traveller.
On the whole, it looks good but when you try using it you quickly discover its shortcomings. I would recommend the larger Madrid city guide for most readers, unless space/weight is such a pressing issue that you need the tiniest book possible.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
We've used these slim lonely planet books for cities all over Spain, Italy and Portugal. They are amazing. I first got them on a trip to Italy, since we were visiting a few cities I hadn't been before. They were such an integral part of why we enjoyed ourselves so much, so I absolutely had to get them for our next trip to Spain and Portugal.
The books are very compact and fit in my tiny day bag(which just about houses my small camera, chapstick and a few other odds and ends). It was really all we needed when we ventured out every day. It has GREAT maps, about 5 different maps per book. And they're not gigantic, so thankfully you will not be the 'obvious tourist' which is something that I get very concerned about. I don't want to be the stereotypical American blocking off a sidewalk while staring at a map that's 2x5. Each map concentrates on a different section of the city, so you can see specific streets and points of interest.
I usually read thru these books page by page to decide my daily itinerary before we leave for our trip. I cross reference them with other guides and websites, to make sure I won't be skipping anything crucial. I made notes on the pages and highlight parts of the maps so that I can easily find things I am going to.
An indispensable aspect of these books is not only does it at least give you an idea of pricing, if not the exact amount, but it tells student/senior pricing as well as hours and even hours for different seasons if the point of interests breaks down that way. We always knew when something was open or closed so there was never wasted time walking to something and finding it closed or just about to be closed. When you're in a city for a short amount of time, that is VERY important!!
There is also a wide variety of color pictures, which I really like. It gives me a better idea of if i want to visit that museum or fountain or building.
This book can get you into a completely unknown city and help you get from an airport to where ever you're going. It tells you all the transportation choices and what is best for getting where. It has highlights for places you absolutely should not miss, sights and activities, walking tours(how often can you take yourself on a walking tour of an unknown city?!), day trips, shopping including food and flea markets, restaurants,hotels, places to visit for kids.
Lastly, my favorite section which is the 'directory', it's a how-to for the specific city your book is based on: on arrival and departure(which I mentioned before)info on tipping, your embassy, getting around: telling you about metro cards and buses and trains, basics on language and emergencies. Even tips for women or gay and lesbian travelers.
I would recommend this book whole heartedly and look forward to my next vacation so I can buy more. And afterwards, it's totally something sentimental to keep because it has all the notes on where we went and what we liked and didn't like. It really brings us back to the excitement of visiting a new, unknown place.
I found it very useful and I will use similar book for my future visit to other cities.